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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 10, 2012 11:45pm-2:30am EST

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the friends he had in court unless high degree fight a war for universal liberty without the slaves? he began making promises the emancipation was around the corner just waiting for the opinions to write in. was not true but it was in his interest but in his interest t. did in sorg before he left he said when the gap back to america he would train slaves that they
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would become could citizens and free people of the united states. but when he got back things changed. >> welcome to the 303rd annual american book awards co-sponsored by the columbus foundation. we chose the name to indicate as far as we know know, there have been 30,000 years of steroid -- storytelling. so the border directors are
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john d. macarthur and the but finally the lawyer for the state of california. this event it is being co-sponsored we'll acknowledge their generosity to bring s to the historic room. we want to welcome richard hudson to greet you and it
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is professor of marriages and a member of the faculty of american studies and interdisciplinary program. he came to the uc berkeley english department 1964 although he continues teaching and tell this but he it is now president of the west literature association. and that the berkley's annual conference in october and then he said the buck with that. [laughter]
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>> i basically want to say one word. you happen to be in this tool room of the english department. i'd like other rooms has total control of this room because of the donation by the -- and alumni. but to say one word of a raging within the english department, since i came here almost 50 years ago, there has been a great demand from our at undergraduate students with those of the department trying to meet and satisfy that demand. a major poet at the time as
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well as the critic mark sure was a novel list. that tradition of having a great literary artist has continued down through today and includes kinks 10, it is mailed redo the mess it is a great deal. you was a fantastic teacher and actually got his students published and made an anthology. my favorite story he read the number of poems at the professional organization which you read:this by wallace stevens, frost, t.s. eliot, along with students
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to get the professors out there for who had written what. [laughter] they could not do it. but in any event, these professors also of teach courses for and literary criticism there it is a formidable array remembers of english department where this demand has gotten greater and greater. but two main poetry to be creative writing.
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great visitors from around the world there it is a woman poet from katherine walsh. i was disturbed when and shave this one the nobel prize it was then the newspapers and "the new york times" city was at harvard but he was at berkeley long before. it has its ability to recognize long before harvard. [laughter] in any event i just want to mention an interview that i just saw the with his new book of prose what it can do. talks about the duty of the artist it is to respond then
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he mentions the famous statement that poems cause nothing to happen. he says the following "wordsworth read dead german romantic poets. henry david thoreau read wadsworth, john read a thorough and heroes about read your and we have a national park system" it reminds us of the but we are the unregulated legislators of the world. [applause] >> can you hear me?
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professor, it is a h. by coach share from african-american and studies. after they look after a valve one due july and a. [laughter] to focus on race, michael tours, schooling, rationaliz ed identities pump promise five stanford and and 2011
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requested to build an office in 200011 and integrate scholarly work with your commitment to community to engage scholarship and we want to welcome her here. and extend our gratitude to the african-american and studies to permit a co-sponsor for the word ceremony. [applause] >> good afternoon i am honored to be your brother 303rd broke awards. when israel approached me i
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was excited and thrilled to meet him as he it is a legend in the african-american world and long been unafraid to speak truth to power but as you may remain on non the award was also given to barber christian who was one of my professors what i was an undergraduate and she was both a brilliant scholar lonesome said teacher that cared about the growth of the students. it it is her legacy that i strive to enact as the new department share netted it is not and has never been just about publishing articles and writing books. added score the work years should be about
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transformation to transform the critical consciousness, transforming students into thinkers and scholars and to support analysis of race even as the road gets more sophisticated in the name of being post ratio but perhaps the african-american studies department has a responsibility to engage to leverage university resources to make it a more socially conscious place and why i am honored we support this seabed because it places of authors of color epicenter and honors their contributions and how we create structures and institutions from pariahs were the literature. that it is what it is marked
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as valuable. i applaud the great work of the authors. i hope you enjoy the afternoon 85. >> >> we have an excellent writer with us today who will say a few words. we are glad he was able to make it. we told him to come out here. we may have to pass the hat. we have no money. [laughter] we do not accept any corporate dimes. [applause]
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year his book it is into and out of dislocation, the 2010 recipient of the stephen henderson a word. . .
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i teach a course that has become important to me and to a think some of my students called race created by the indifference to again again as you have heard earlier, to talk about the things you are you're not supposed to talk about. and i am honored to be here before you, to be with you, to be among you. as ishmael said i would one the book award for my book. style. i had admired the work of the core columbus foundation for many years before that, so i was incredibly and deeply on her. and i'm honored as well to be teaching here at work late. the place as you heard earlier has a huge history that i am
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constantly in ought of. gary snyder, june jordan, robert duncan, cecil brown, jack spicer. my teacher was a student here and his teacher was josephine miles. i would be remiss if i did not acknowledge the continuing presence of ishmael reed, maxine pinkston, still among us and i must say to you that it is a pleasure and i have talked to the number of places where that term pleasure does not apply. [laughter] it is a pleasure to teach here with bob has and jeffrey, vikram chandra, tom farber but it's my students that have brought me great joy over these last
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several -- last five years in my teaching here. they read the assignments. [laughter] and then they show up in the office aching for commerce nation, which is just incredibly gratifying and it makes me work harder but that's okay. they graduate and they go out and they start galleries and began reading series. they take place in the world and they keep things going, so welcome here to this room this afternoon. thank you. [applause] >> i want to introduce a dynamic young man. this organization has gotten new blood but it's a good idea to keep some of the old blood around.
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[laughter] our chairperson is -- and aarp president is on the way from the airport. justin is, this young man is relentless in the culture. i remember at 2:00 in the morning in madrid in the phone rings and it is just an calling me in madrid saying he wanted to interview me at 2:00 in the morning. that is the kind of dogged pursuit he takes, waking people up at 2:00 in the morning. for culture, right? [laughter] he is the adjunct faculty of the school of the arts in san francisco. his journalism and poetry in americana, black renaissance edited by our friend quincy troupe probably one of the most
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beautiful literary magazines in the country published under the auspices of new york university. he has appeared in -- he is a creator of the cultural arts program, new day jazz in its 12th year, a great radio program broadcasting on kd u.s. u.s. california davis. he is presently writing an opera composed by roscoe mitchell of the great chicago arts ensemble and it is based on the life of the great poet, bob coffman, the greatest poet to come out, out of the beat generation. [applause] and it will be premiering in prague in the spring of 2015. justin. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. as ishmael said my name is justin and i'm the chair of the columbus foundation and it is a great honor and a great pleasure to share this afternoon with you. we are very excited about winners of the american book award this year and pleased that we had so many here with us this afternoon. we are going to be getting to that in just a moment. but before we get into it, these last 12 months have been moments this for the organization. about 12 months ago we had a very large-scale fund-raiser at yoshi's in san francisco at brought together the talents of david murray, the preeminent tenor saxophonist and composer of our time along with al young,
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who sang the blues with ishmael at piano by the way. a merra baraka joined us and also roscoe mitchell and jenny lind was there, cervantes and many of the foremost contributors to the deepening of our literature and our experience and what we have come to understand about our country and living in it today. shortly after that we continued what is going into a series of collaborations with the poetry center at san francisco state university and we began that effort with a symposium on the work of bob coffman and black surrealism from the united states throughout the diaspora and the continent of africa, and we continued that same series this year with the state of chicano literature which brought
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together a fellow board member who recently has been nodded as the poet laureate of this state, and holly and american book award winner who is now the poet laureate for the city of san francisco and lauren d. cervantes who as a poet, an editor and an artist with seminal and the creation of the magazine. i should underline these points plan for sizing the fact that the before columbus foundation has always been on the front lines of the dissemination and distribution of this literature not only with the creation of the american book award but also as a book distributor in its early years. i also want to point out that the question of the crisis in ethnic studies particularly with chicano literature in arizona and throughout the united states has largely been an issue that's been ignored shamefully and disgracefully by the mainstream
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of american literary life. we don't play that game. so we brought them together to talk about it. we are going to continue those associations and colesentation k superheroes and how that evolution taking place in those pages parallel the movement and the deepening of american democracy to borrow benson harding's phrase in regards the civil rights struggle to the black power era and how those changes influence these images and thus american popular culture particularly sinema and then bringing on recent black superhero which dr. adilifu nama will share a little bit more with you about today. it is a great pleasure to welcome subfive to the stage and present him with the american book award for 2012. [applause]
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>> thanks a lot. good afternoon everyone. let me say first of all that i am very honored to be here. i want to thank justin as well as the board members and friends of the columbus foundation. when you receive a nominee and you hear people say i'm honored to be here and this is an honor to be in the room, and i can really say that i won't be so critical when i hear other people say that now. as some type of cliché because i truly feel honored just to be here amongst some serious folks and they popular --
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hip-hop. so one of the things that i am going to do and actually come back again later, which means i am going to be scripting. i'm going to be reading so what i'm going to try to do for my own kind of conversation about this is deviate a little bit from what i had planned that i'm going to try to mix it up in the conversation as well as i guess script it. one of the things i want to get into and you know once again, i feel like i'm surrounded by poets and in many ways poets, they are very astute in the way language and meaning are communicated and in some ways i
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feel like i am just a layperson when it comes to a poet but i'm going to see how up to the task my writing is. that is one of the things that i've said, i really appreciate this award because in some ways it's other writers who are saying you know, come on in and be in the one of us. it's not a popularity contest and i appreciate that. i'm going to talk about superheroes and i don't often know this but there very plentiful. one of the first superheroes to grab my attention, and some of these names may not be familiar with you because and not honesty when i set out to write this book, people thought it was going to be a very short book. books about black superheroes, there were two or three of them.
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there are a little bit more than a handful but they are not as small as you might think. the same thing happened to me by the way when i wrote my first book. i wrote a book about science fiction, film and race and that was another one of those books where everyone said it's going to be a short book. but anyway so much for the critics. one of the first superheroes to stand out for me was a superhero called the falcon and the falcon set out to me as a 7-year-old because he had wings and he could fly. he was a black man that could fly. and then from there i say in my book, i move onto the other black men who could fly, julius erving, dr. j. and then there was another one called air jordan.
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and i told this to a colleague of mine. he said well, those are the ones that they know about. [laughter] so there are some other black heroes had been flying for a long time but just haven't been caught on tape yet. but with the falcon i was able to imagine myself as a superhero rising above my social economic environment reading the neighborhood bullies commanding respect for my male peers and enjoying approval from all the pretty girls that made me feel so nervous. i later became captivated by the basketball player known for dunking a basketball in his opponents faces. although i dutifully try to imitate the moves i had seen dr. j. perform i dedicated virtually all my free time to watching him play and practice his basketball moves. i stops and in my basketball career and i just didn't have what dr. j. had. nevertheless i never forgot about the falcon.
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the falcon was my first and favorite flying black superhero. now here is where we get into cultural words. the image of a black man gliding through the air compelling attention, and respect made a lasting impact on my imagination the falcon also operated on a broader social level. that is, the image of the falcon driving across an urban skyline symbolize the unprecedented access and upward social mobility of many african-americans that were experiencing, african-americans were experiencing in education and professional position in the wake of hard-earned antidiscrimination laws and affirmative action. in this sense, lack superheroes like the falcon are not only fantastic representation of the ideological rejections of ourselves, they are also a symbolic extension of america's shifting political ethos and racial landscape.
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even though i am at parlance of the black barbershop, a grown man i still enjoy seeing superheroes save the day in comics, films and live-action television, cartoons and video games. i enjoy him enjoyment as you prepare is mature adult however does not take place without an trepidation. in parents see me gleefully poking around in local comic book stores alongside their children are catching dragging my wife into the latest superhero film by often detect the scornful glances that betray feelings ranging from mild annoyance to awkward disdain for what they probably perceived as that old still stuck in adolescence. nonetheless i'm not deterred by their embarrassment for me because i know that the imagined rounds of representational schemes that black super bowl 1 -- superheroes enjoy our powerful visuals compared with
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-- compelling narrative and have multiple meanings around racial ideas and beliefs circulating in american society. certainly comic books featuring heroes like tarzan that magnificent white jungle savior present black heroes as primitive or savage. such examples make easier fodder and open up a pandora's box of vexing social psychological questions about racial projection and reader identification and superhero characters that promote racially insensitive images and ideas. yet by using these issues is the point of analytical departure the dynamic and rich source presented in the superhero universe of marvel comics becomes a superficial critique. either black superheroes are critiqued critique the stereotype from americas, past or they are uncritically affixed to the lack of exploitation of the film craze as negative representations of laxness.
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what emerges from such nearsighted analysis is an incomplete description of the fascinating and complex ideological give-and-take that's black superheroes have with american culture. that is the point of departure for me and in many ways similar to the mandate i think of at the columbus foundation that is to be highly aware and sensitive to quality work and ideas that may be transgressive, that promote a certain type of critical analysis of america that initially may be overlooked. i think in the same similar way, my work is taking on this notion of blackness and how it is presented in popular culture, in particular in comic books that has a transgressive and possibly
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even progressive reimagining of blackness and i say this because, let's take for moment that for the majority of american comic book representation of blackness has dubbed black folk as primitive, as savage, as enslaved, as butler, as made. we just had a movie called the help and we are in the 2000. [laughter] by now we have flying cars but certainly i did not expect to see another made movie. but i digress. [laughter] so you have all these kinds of very conventional generic representations of blackness and then you come upon comic book realm and you have lacked men and women who can fly and control the elements of the
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weather. she is called storm. you have a man called the black panther and that might be familiar to people around the bay area here. i am not sure. that there is a superhero called the black panther, the warrior prince who is the king of a nation called for condos that is light years ahead in terms of technology in terms of the west and in many ways is a metaphor for the anti-colonialism, anti-imperialist metaphor for african nations in terms of what they can create outside of colonialism. so in my mind, this is an alternative space to see images of black folk that really you don't see anywhere else. nowhere else. i don't see this type of the
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lactic expression of blackness and maybe other than -- i mean there are not too many black space travelers. [laughter] so, sometimes i feel like a brother from another planet too but i digress. convention dictates the most awarding approach to understanding contemporary black racial formation in america or representation of the mass media found in examining the grand social and political dramas that have defined american racial issues over the past century. to name a few the great migration, jackie robinson, immigration of faith major baseball league post industrialism the groundbreaking success of the cosby show the
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ubiquitous presence of hip-hop in american culture in and of course the first black president have held that one time or another center stage as race defining political and cultural vents and american history. admittedly against such socially significant offense that examination of superhero, black superheroes can he sleep he viewed as cultural, culture volt trivia or an exercise in self indulgent -- yet as it has been revealed in their respective work in popular culture, that which appears the most mundane, innocuous and every day offers some of the most provocative and telling culturally ideological information about a society. i contend this is certainly the case with various transformations that black superhero figures have reflected over the past 40 years in comic and comic books, television
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sound and black superheroes are not the disposable refuse of american pop culture but serve as a source of potent racial meaning that it has substance and residence far beyond the function and anticipated shelflife. so with that said, i could go on for another two hours. [laughter] but with that said, i hope that i have been able to convey my appreciation for the award and also the substance of what i am trying to communicate in my work is your appetite has been wedded in terms of thinking beyond what is commonly asserted. that is commonly asserted and here is where i leave.
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of these black superheroes are nothing more than the manifestation of white writers and white illustrators and that is true. but the interesting part for me is that it is because of let's say the black freedom movement in particular that black has had to be reimagined, that let's say for example 1933, if the artist or near rader came and said i have a superhero called watermelon man and the more watermelon he eats the stronger he gets and the higher he jumps, well i think that would probably be doable in the 19 30s but to do that in 1969, that's a whole different type of story. and that means that when you come with the watermelon man
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superhero schematic more likely someone would say do you know something, you need to go back to the drawing board on this one because right now to troy is on fire, the nation is on fire and so you think you can present that, you need to reimagined something different. so in my mind that is a very critical point that speaks to the ways in which there are successes with the black freedom movement and imagining who black people are in terms of the real level but also an ideological level and that impact is not only contained to just black folk, it is something that is expressed obviously threw him out -- throughout american pop culture and society. thank you so much for having me. [applause]
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>> adilifu nama, thank you very much. before introducing my colleague, i would like to say a few words about our executive director. mr. strauss has really been the back own of the before columbus foundation from the very beginning. in fact, without his commitment, without his embodiment of constables that have really fueled this organization and his tireless labors, we really would not be here today. so i would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and also ask all of you to join me in
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thanking our executive director. [applause] carla brundage has been writing and performing in the bay area for over two decades. part of the hip-hop generation. she graduated from vassar college in 1989 and she has traveled across the country to oakland where she began working with youth, using poetry as a form of social activism. she published one book of poetry thus far, swallowing watermelons and has edited words upon the waters and oakland out loud. she is currently working on a memoirs to sing a spirit to
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heaven. which reflects on the year she spent teaching and rural zimbabwe, albright exchange. please join me in what coming carla brundage. [applause] >> i am going to introduce the next two awards. "the translator's sister" is about discovery, compassion and grief, key things represented by the before columbus foundation. of "the translator's sister" jack foley says, mary weingarten's "the translator's sister" is poised on borders between memory and imagination.
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weingarten's conversation with her dead sister shape shifts and shimmers, conjures brilliant glimpses of a shared childhood, the colors and smells of times past. the book is an homage in celebration of weingarten's brilliant literary sister, kathryn washburn. the author calls it a collage of memories, dream fragments, imagined encounters and reflections on girlhood. not memoirs but poetic fiction. and her costa thank with her sister, mary weingarten does not in gauges and the philosophical questions of the day as tennyson does in memorial him. she does not tell us it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. what she does is to circle endlessly around her grief, seeing it from all sorts of angles but never escaping it.
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her book is heartbreaking because it rings as to precisely the point of what a book cannot do to make her sister be again. and yet, and yet her book also does precisely what a book can do, bring her brilliant talented sister before us and all her living glory. in the deep vividness suffer endlessly problematical absence, in mary weingarten's hands kathryn washburn turns out to be the most marvelous pains they can be imagined. a little bit about mary weingarten. mary weingarten grew up outside of washington d.c.. after graduating from the university of chicago she worked for several years in community arts in london and then move to san francisco where she earned her m.a. in comparative
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literature. her translations of russian poets have been published in magazines and in crossing centuries and anthology of contemporary russian poetry. her poems have appeared in 26 journals, journal 26, excuse me. she has grown three children teaches english at san francisco state university and is working on a new collection of poetry. she lives in tampa and cisco with her husband, jeff hoyle. please welcome mary weingarten. [applause] congratulations. >> wow. it's great to be here and it is
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really an enormous honor, clichés aside, you know you are right. it is a cliché but it's true, isn't it quite i am really grateful to the before columbus foundation, justin, ishmael, to jack foley who icas could not make it today into all of you for this award. and i thank all of you for coming this afternoon on this gorgeous day. my fellow honorees, thank you for coming. thanks to my family, my husband, my two sons and daughter in law and other family members for cheering me on in my very late looming writing career. it really means a lot to me. i also wish to thank, and have a great debt of gratitude to my publisher, judith carmen who will join me in reading in a few moments. she really took a chance.
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she is the publisher of the press and was really willing to take a chance on this kind of strange first collection by an unknown white haired poet. so thanks to judith. i also have a depth beyond words to someone not present, my beloved sister kathryn washburn as carla mentioned, who was a superb writer, editor, translator and critic of poetry before her sudden death in march of 2000. she is in fact the co-author of this work and let me explain that for a moment. the book is -- "the translator's sister" is called poems but it is across genre work, and hybrid of prose
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and poetry, memoir and fiction, omar g. and elegy but actually is written as a conversation with my sister. in my shock and great sorrow after her sudden death, i began rereading her various works and her translations and i found myself responding in writing to various evocative lines and phases of hers, creating this poetic dialogue which was now the only conversation i could have with her. and so this collection a fault. it is a collage of memories and dreams and so on, even a few jokes about our shared childhood in the 50s and coming-of-age in the 1960's and beyond. i have written a poem says fragments and so the book is not organized by chronology since
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you know, that is how memory works. but it is organized according to the text that my sister wrote or translated so i will briefly explain part one is called the sisters apology and here, the lives of my sisters which are in italics on the page, come from the page -- 1 chapter of her and finished novel which was called the translator's apology. part two is entitled, jam yesterday. you might recall the line, the rule is jam tomorrow and jam yesterday but never jam today. both this book and alice were childhood favorites in this line in particular was one that we used as a kind of shorthand to describe our families dynamics
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or figure this expression of our family. and then part three is entitled indoors like the ferc and the route and hear the italicized lines come from various works of my sisters including her very luminous introduction to the last poems of paul salon published by north pointe in the 1980s and to her translations from various classical greek and modern european poets. so, since the book is a conversation, as i said, as i read a few poems, but judith carmen my publisher, who is also a poet and translator and musician, has agreed to read my sisters lines and other lines in italics. we will read without stopping
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for just five short poems. the first three are from part one, the sisters apology and there is one from part two, jam yesterday and finally a poem from part three. >> the book you want. >> our last book, i can't find a. >> it's no doubt somewhere in the house. >> scraps from the first chapter of the novel, a thin trail of breadcrumbs, leading to a forest of empty pages. our conversation can begin there. i will happily invent. >> the only happiness allowed in a fallen world. >> unless you come out from behind the trees of the dead. >> that said pair of shadows, the company i keep.
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>> you see how i've read and reread, scrutinizing your words, those pages you have left me, dressed up now in italics. >> try to make sense of this story. a moral fiction if you read it carefully will tell you how to live. >> who could've known the ending, the shock of your sudden bleeding? i was at home all evening, along with the cat dreaming next to me on the sofa, a balmy march night, a full moon. on the phone trying to book a flight to new york to see you. i checked the kitchen clock, thinking i would call you but it was nearly midnight in brooklyn. too late i said to the indifferent cat. >> a slender needle -- >> early the next morning i'm drinking tea. the phonecall from your husband,
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numb. >> finding those places where everything is folded upon itself the. >> oh those wide boulevards in paris. can we stroll them again, summer trees in bloom? will you point out your ponzi on where you stayed when a plus just a baby? we will stop for ice cream. i will choose pistachio of course for you. even at 17 how sophisticated you were with your gillian savidge. your handsome vietnamese penpal writing you said literary letters in schoolboy french. 1958 or 59, wearing black armbands, still mourning james dean. u.n. maureen sneaking cigarettes, hiking dusty piles of moody magazines under the
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bed. >> living in the coldwell ordered house of adult experience. >> a decade lost between us, my student years in chicago, london for nearly as long, returning to this country and 73, a year in the ozarks vi -- before he hitchhiked west. communal flats, antiwar marches, street theater collect its in arkansas, northern california. and narrative full of the usual drugs in fanciful while you are at home, a respectable cambridge wife, reading homer in the original as your toddler snapped. >> when i had young children, i found consolation, the language in the unholy joy it gives. a fluttering -- >> still free and childless, i
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did not know your suffering, your beautiful firstborn son. only later did we learn this word autistic. when i gave birth you sent us picture books of mother goose and said yes it's jonah who will will be 23 in the year 2000. who could imagine such a year? and i don't want to squabble about what killed you that very year, whether you're smoking or drinking did or did not cause your heart to stop without warning. >> the passkey which slipped all locks. >> curiously i find myself back in your house, your narrow but cramped living room in carol gardens, your house, yet not your house in the way of all dream houses. i answer the telephone. a female voice, an no friend of
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yours perhaps it is jay calling from austin says she has lost a favorite recipe for cocoa, catherine's recipe and can she have her telephone number? my reply a whelping plea. my sister is no longer alive. eisler this word alive, repeat it, the fowls constricting my throat, the long i and to silence the e's. i am not saying my sister is dead or good don't you know? avoid this word that begins and ends with its dark finite consonant, it's flush of shame, the final d, a door slammed shut. disgraced, death, bereft, cried and dried, buried in the earth,
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defiled, decayed, a decade. >> you shouldn't make jokes allison says if it makes you so unhappy. >> and the last poem. >> tantalus never set eyes on you indoors like the verb at the root. >> conjugate, i am old -- >> you only die once and never again. >> once you promised paris in january. one or both of us failed to show up. >> my heart, i see your face in ocean and streams staring always from the last cup of wine. >> waiting for a taste of your voice. [applause] >> thank you so much.
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>> before columbus seeks to honor edgy and forward-thinking authors, what captured our attention about this next book was that it pushed the envelope when uncovering oppression -- oh, sorry. slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor by rob nixon is the recipient of the next award. justin says, in this enormously important book, rob nixon lays out some of the most persuasive
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and highly original analyses to date on the problems, perils and confounding paradoxes surrounding the phenomena of global destruction caused by rising levels of toxicity in the world today. while it is no secret that the most technologically advanced nations on earth, most especially in the west and most particularly the u.s., are the primary culprits in perpetuating the phenomena of global warming. little has been done until now toward the unique role artists, particularly writer activists, can have and have created in offsetting the dominant catastrophes associated with it. beginning with lawrence summers infamous quote outlining the
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logical necessity of the aforementioned ants nations capitalists, to dump toxins into an under polluted africa, nixon guides us through the surprising centrifuged of evasions, confrontations, revelations and is leisure surrounding various industries, corporations, governments, unions, villages, townships, preserves, rivers and mines that are the landscape of the most volatile socially and politically charged issues of our time. those involving the very survival of the planet on which we live, drawing heavily on the work of rachel carson as well as as -- nixon has created a singular remarkably rigorous and inventive style of literary criticism, illuminating the work of writer activists both in america and around the world
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whose own powerfully decisively works are for highly original solutions and perspectives on the daunting, often intimidating, prospects of human extinction. in a culture where our perceptions of the world in which we live are increasingly mediated by rapid advances in communication technologies and their intended archives, nixon/ of slow violence, a violence that develops incrementally over time, time not immediately apparent or present a bold by spectacle driven media and broadcast technology. for those trapped inside and outside this virtual membrane, the paradox is lethal. among the many writer activists discussed by nixon or camille don g., r. and david roy, nobel
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peace prize winner wangari moscow, and interests in half, author of animals, people. route nixon is a rachel carson professor of english -- rob nixon is a professor of english at the university of wisconsin-madison. he is a frequent -- contributed to "the new york times" and i would like to welcome rob nixon. [applause] this next award goes to rob nixon. >> i should point out actually that mr. nixon who wrote this
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extraordinary work actually intended to be here, but harvard told us that they told him but didn't. in other words, they led us on for a while and said oh yeah don't worry about it. we have got it and then i spoke with rob nixon about a week ago and he said no, no one got in touch with me. so, sometimes, maybe lawrence summers got in there. they fired him though, right? [laughter] now, one of the most extraordinary books to emerge over the last year are a
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collection of short stories, "american masculine" from shann ray. to be sure, in the west, in the united states, there's a tremendous amount of the inner life that rarely makes its way onto the pages of works of fiction, characters often hard to beguiling and complex to find their full relief or to be held close and this book is truly an exception to that. mr. ray holds a ph.d. in psychology from the university of alberta. his work has appeared in mcsweeney's magazine, story quarterly and other publications now i should mention sherman
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alexi also an american book award winner, had this to say about this extraordinary collection of stories of american masculine from shann ray. shann ray writes about small towns and their residents and tough poet again beautiful ways. i recognize many of these people and that's good, but i'm also surprised and stunned by many others, which is great. by the book, read it tonight. you will love it too from sherman alexi about this collection. it is truly an astonishing work and this afternoon we have the great pleasure and honor of the author shann ray joining the stage for the ceremony so please will welcome shann ray.
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[applause] >> it's wonderful to be here. it is so different to be down here in the big city considering my mom was raised in kohlhagen montana, population eight. [laughter] i am thrilled that my brother joins me today. thanks for joining me. and i'm also thrilled that i'm surrounded by lovely women and my wife jennifer, my mom, sandy, and my grandmother, kathryn who we call called the great one. and guess what? i have three daughters. one of my nine pink shirts. i want to thank ishmael reed and all of that before columbus foundation would have shown us the better angels of our nature. gratitude calls forth love in
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us. from shakespeare, love is not to merit the true minds of impediments. love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. or martin luther king jr., hate cannot cast out hate. only love can do that. from vincent van gogh, the greatest work of art is to love someone. from elizabeth barrett browning, how do i love you? let me count the ways. from the proverbs many bloggers cannot quench love. love is stronger than death. and from bell hooks, to return to love is to return to one another. i grew up in montana, and jonathan a member of the crow nation was the best basketball player in the state.
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he led a losing tradition the state spotlight tearing -- hearing the tama community on his shoulders all the way to the state tournament where he averaged 41 points a game. he created legends that decades later are spoken of in stay basque ball circles and did so with the fierceness that made me both fear and respect him. on the court nothing was outside the rome of the skill, the jump jumpshot combo drive, sweeping left-handed anger roleroll, the deep jump. he could deliver what we all dreamed of and with the venom that said don't get in my way. my father who grew up in circle montana population 300 became our basketball coach and the crows -- coach the crow nation and northern cheyenne where i grew up. i was a younger playing for an all-white school in livingston high school and her teams met in a divisional tournament and he and the bulldogs delivered us eight crushing 17.50. the close of the third quarter
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with a clock pointing down and his team with a comfortable lead he pulled up from one step in front of half-court and shot a straight clean jump shot. though the range was more than 20 feet behind the three-point line his form remain pure. he had the power of an exquisite beauty hushed the crowd. the common knowledge can't everyone. few people can throw basketball that far let alone take a real shot with good form. it takes -- as the ball was in midair he turned no longer watching the flight of the ball and began to walk towards his team bench. the buzzer sounded, he put a fist in the air and the shots swished into the net. the crowd erupted. in his will to take such a shot let alone make it i was reminded of the brilliance of some of the native american heroes that have populated the landscape of my
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boyhood. marty round face and tim boulton. max spotted bear, joe pretty pained and joe nixon himself. many of these young men's died in the violence surrounding the drug and alcohol on the reservation but inspired me towards a boldness that gave us artistry and freedom. such boldness is akin to passion. for these young men and myself at that time are passionless basketball. rather than creating my own intrepid response only emphasize how little i knew not just on the basketball court but in life. the confidence i lacked in the leadership potential that lived and moved, former at&t executive and friend of robert frost in e.b. we said behind every -- is a dreamer of great dreams.
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behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams so when we think about the atrocity or nation is experienced in the wake of slavery and towards native americans and people of all different races we listen to these words from martin luther king jr. he said the oppressor will never willingly give up our. and who also said, when we love the oppressor we bring about not only our own salvation but the salvation of the oppressor. he and his team seem to work as one as they played with fluidity and joy and abandon. i began to look at this way of life as an athlete and as a person. the search brought me to people who live life not through dominance but through freedom of movement. and such people lead me toward the experience of artistic living. one of the most potent experiences of this game with the mentoring received from my future wife's father. my wife jennifer and i were in her 20s not yet married and i was at the dinner table with her
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and her family when jennifer's father said something sure to her mother. at the time her father was a present of large multinational sports oriented corporation based state. thinking back to where they knows the comment because of the chaos and uncontrolled nature of the wayside previously experienced conflict. most complex refill the simmering anger or resentment that went under round plaguing the relationship taking a long time to disperse recorded not give her fathers, and a second thought until sometime after dinner when he approached me as i relaxed on the couch. he had just finished speaking with his wife on one side the kitchen when he came to me. i want to ask your forgiveness for being rude to my wife. i could not imagine what he was talking about. i felt uncomfortable and try to get him and me out of this awkward conversation as soon as i could. you don't have to ask me i said. i don't ask forgiveness for your benefit the answer. i ask in order to honor the relationship i share with my
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wife. in our family fun person hurts another when not only asked forgiveness of the person who has been heard but also if anyone else who was present in order to restore that skid -- may dignity of the one who was hurt. from a relatively brief experience again respect for myself and began to see the possibilities of an artistic way of life free of vines and risks and free of the entrenched critical miss that usually accompanies such relationships. my own life was like a fortress compared to the open lifestyle jennifer's father espoused. ..
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>> now that my life as internal place it gives power to the red word are 1/3 when reading a great palm to find our and the soul of the artists. a covenant with humanity that it is vigorous and vital.
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it occurs late night when my three girls are asleep. my wife and i sit together at the kitchen table. and with the grandeur of god. we will fan out to gather to greatness. generations less so will it is there now. what does it mean to listen to the artist of our nation and the world a and elizabeth alexander and aleksei and shura lebron taye? tolstoy comment dixon
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dixon -- dixit -- dick and say and the vessels of our dreams. i find myself asking the question the same as by one of the national treasures what do plan to do? to hear her answer when it it is over i want to say i was a bride, the bridegroom taking the world into my arms. in my waking dreams like a war horse running strong and fears. the question it is meet pause how he listened to something more. the answer drives me deeper
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into life. [applause] list. >> shann ray. [applause] in the subject of race and american life it is increasingly material in the age of obama. many writers are flummoxed. stepping into the fray comes who it is afraid of post blackness and what it means to be black now from author
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and a journalist and television host now, arguing from the center placing african-american in a culture from american experience the surly engaging account of black identity it is simultaneous read challenging and affirmative. the result of prodigious research, conducted first hand, and who's afraid opposed blackness has a conundrum of racial politics. the same racial politics and a did he that brought american life with controversy and violence since our country's inception.
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toure discloses rich personal testimony and detail against a chronicle of revelations from constellation of african-american writers and artists workers from all walks of life including many of today's preeminent intellectuals. toure currie chewed take risk it is encouraged with each chapter also tackling issues of off been neglected over swept under the rug. to be sure the book has met its considerable share of controversy inspiring a wide range of beverage and opinions and contentious argument from today's most prominent
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writers and intellectuals but strongly feel this dialogue has been and will continue to be invaluable with american knife. "who's afraid of post-blackness?" stance with albert murray and the black it is static as an important contribution to the exploration and interpretation and ed kennedy. toure because of his duties at the network could not join us this afternoon but he did write the note that he asked me to share with all of you. he writes to us, it it is
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such a tremendous honor to win the american book award. i am sorry i cannot be there to except it in person but i have a "daily show" on msnbc that requires me to be in new york with that it is no reflection on how they fly about this. this it is apropos because my book it is quote about what it means to be an american and black americans are quintessential. shaped by the country and shapers of it that in turn shape us further. we have made it difficult to embrace america because it has built like a rejecting lover attacking our bodies and our citizenship come our ability to participate in
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ways that underline the way we are not meant to be full of americans. many people iceboat to say they feel close to their city, but feeling close to america it is still not quite possible even in the obama era. they have had their heart broken into not want it broke in again so they put up a wall. but i urge them to embrace america of because we may be in a difficult marriage but we are family and all the owe it is the source of pain it it is part of your constitution.
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we are among the most crucial architects shape being and not just culturally and aesthetically but legally. we forced america to move to being as democratic as it claimed and through that we made america of better. america still has a way to go but i am proud to be an american and win an award called the american and book award. thing keogh. from toure this afternoon. [applause] >> carla?
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>> a chronicle of the hamas stock rebels this it is particularly intriguing because it it is based on letters of the actual rubbles that 10 came across the structure it is of beautiful because he interweaves the letters. sean hill rights always a and ambitious public seven young rewards "the reader" with the latest volume of the book arden see. the kidnapped african who famously rebelled against their chapters to find themselves lending in america that robert haden
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roach of in middle passage and stevens been bit -- steven spielberg rendered and armas died here in this very important book readers in gauged with a tragedy and drama of this incident their exploration of the small human moment of the rebels' plight. a major american voice has brought this to bear in the book at once eloquent and playful. mrs. navtech of the 19th century event and we should be reading this book allowed. 10 young's bio it is in the
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program so i will just introduce them. congratulations. [applause] >> icing on top of basing now i can pretend i am a poet. [laughter] i met mark a couple months ago but i will read you what i have and what he gave me to read. this it is kevin. thank you for this honor. i am sorry i cannot be there to except in person. i have long a buyer the american and book awards with there friday and strength. i am particularly honored by the art in see the of
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rihanna's stock rebellion to take a questions of faith and the negro spiritual. in lieu of further thanks so like to offer one muscone as the benediction of short -- sorts. and hopefully will do this justice. >> made the river remember you. made the road be your only cross. may rise. mayor said take your hand. made the loss made the mountain move to meet you may decline the quick.
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made the mountain. made this the shut its store. maybe ash, not the snow swallow you whole with last be the first. made the stars the once the still. forget have been. may you wake with the rain. [applause] >> one the next book to win
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an award of the nilson island and stories prior practice. [laughter] the tradition and bears of the country and western alaska was up of leaders indigenous knowledge, keepers of one of the great intellectual and spiritual heritage. these elders speak with profound intellectual depth. when i spoke to dallas reared in one of a translator she says she deeply felt this book was the voice of the older and was just translating the
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book. she wanted me to read this acceptance speech evers the humble and unassuming elders speak with kindness generosity profound intellectual depth and speak of the consciousness of land and sea. this team initiative by the elders themselves over the past seven years produced a series of books on a growing in importance as we look to our bears and realizes how to better live on this land. to talk to guilders where they build camps and fished and listen to the older people tell stories.
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it is a model for the rest of america with the foundational beginning of our rio education. -- real education. alice and and sent to the acceptance speech. they're not here today. >> we're both grateful for the honor to name our but for the mayor 10 book award. this it is an extraordinary event. never before has the use of men and women of southwest alaska of been recognized nationally for the eloquence of their oratory the book was spoken before it was written and the result of a decade of work with the people of nelson island where elders share their stories for the sake of the intergenerational.
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they did not tell us because we ask questions but taught us what they felt we needed to know. translation it is an art revealing famous while others are said -- go and said. thanks to alices sensitivity can feel the power of the words. and mother and her thirties she cares deeply about this work she does because of her passionate belief of the value of what the elders have to say. that you chose to honor the book it is particularly meaningful to me. anthropology has changed so much merrill my dissertation based on what i learned. now in my sixties, the elders are still teaching and i am still learning. we think the holders for their generosity of spirit spirit, those who share our
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given another day. our book was a gift to readers of all ages. they give it -- thank you very much. accepting the award it is ms. mcintyre from the village. he it is a longtime friend, a wonderful dancer, singer, and storyteller. thank you. [applause] >> >> the nelson island stories.
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[speaking native language] language [speaking native language] the words of our elders. this true words of our elders. that ring true from the early time we listened for
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true guidance because they speak the truth. this it is the look that was written and came to our region as the anthropologist to study our people. and she it is still learning from our people. learning goes both ways. we learn from the people who come to us. let me say a few words from the book as well as from a and. she wrote to me.
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market it is sending a copy of the book so you will know what the fuss it is all about. it would be so cool if you could speak the beautiful language that it is the real star of the show. thank you both from the bottom of my heart. above like to read a few passages from the book itself. this it is the tenth produced in our reference to document oral traditions. not it is arcane facts but as knowledge systems continuing relevance in the rapidly changing world. when elders gather to speak
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about the past they select subject matter money and careful listening to the perspective with the relationships and language. builder's guide the use by mainly speaking to them. sharing knowledge with kindness and compassion "we talk to you because we love you" end quote. elders do not associate themselves from changes of their homeland.
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they accept personal responsibility. [speaking native language] our places in the wilderness. it would not be complete for me if i would sing a song of thank you. it says we would put to plugs on the bottom of her lips for beauty. bank to to see into the distance all of my beautiful
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necklaces says the some. it tries to tell us that when we grow up, we receive ornaments of beauty. visual cues of responsibility. so we ought to be thankful for all of those responsibilities bestowed upon us. [speaking native language] ♪ [speaking native language]
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♪ the song has no ending. we could be here all day. [laughter] ♪ [speaking native language]
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thank you. [applause] >> i should mention for those not yet who knows, we have a reception following the award ceremony this afternoon down the hall. also for those who may have not picked up a program program, there are many
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many, just coming in our board president is joining us. is generously offered to share some of his time to read the extraordinary book the submission by amy walled man and before welcoming him onto the stage i should say eight couple of words about the book. it is an extraordinary novel. the culture does not often provide the space publicly for a greeting in the wake
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of such extraordinary violence that takes place here and globally, often the confusion is sustained of the inability to grieve were to understand and respond to our own emotions why we experience what it is of the submission is a giant step to creating bad dialogue and that space so desperately needed here. with that said, amy waldman who could not be with us today send a message of which i will read it to you. please welcome playwright and board president of the
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columbus foundation and. [applause] >> >> good afternoon. it seems like i am tired and was on a plane and delayed and left my wallet and then found it to and then came here as fast as they could. but thank you so much for being gracious enough of 84 coming to the american book awards. amy waldman is a fantastic journalist and i strongly recommend people read this it was amid the chaos of 9/11 but they believe it finds a larger audience now. these are her words.
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>> i regret icahn not attend today's sarajevo me appreciate the give me my a appreciation to also recognize the best literature is always the best known also thank you for recognizing my work. for first-time novelist it is gratifying to receive an award bestowed by a other writers. also to share one with some new writers per ipo why bask in a reflective glow in the achievements of the other honorees. nearly 10 years ago i had this idea that i believed a fictional story who wins the competition maybe i could make sense of the post 9/11 america. who is included in the definition? especially in times of insecurity. i am pleased it defines
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american literature so it is the most inclusive that recognizes as a nation we are defined apply our adversity. [applause] >> we will accept this on her behalf and to let her know there was a warm applause afterwards. [laughter] thank you. >> we now move on to the lifetime achievement award for eugene redmond. someone i have known all my life.
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i was asked by the board to offer some words as part of watering eugene's work, his life, and i will share them with keogh as we welcome him this afternoon. his poetry speaks with their authority and the undeniable sense of reality. radically sensual and rhythmically purposeful his work is one of embodied experience. what an experience it has been. he has to be lived to borrow a word from ted jones, the poll of life.
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not in any way separate from magic and mystery of poetry itself the man in the poll of more one. the complex arc of history and african-american history makes itself known throughout his work he pioneered the work of the african-american and poetry with good ground breaking study by doing for poetry of what had already been achieved through the monumental work the music of black americans to turn the entire development from the earliest form to the present
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resetting the compass for the movement trajectory the invaluable study has provided urgent and necessary context for generations of americans. afro-american poetry continues to provide much-needed clarity of the lord gins or a sentiments expressed over black power often misconstrued adds new that to fuel the aspirations of succeeding generations of poets and intellectuals of every culture in america today. as an organizer redmond said the standard for the cultivation of academic freedom yet to be achieved within a consistency by many
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of his peers. over the decades his conferences workshops, performances concert and conventions have created a lush and fertile ground for the accretive exploration of america's leading artist far beyond writing including dance, music, making, sculpt ure and many of the other visual arts with an emphasis on dance which i am sure he will share with you. with the multiplicity of disciplines has been the hallmark of his most illustrious work. with the various forms of expression is part of what is characterized as a unique contribution is the area
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which she continues to innovate and expire the time of his major work strong voices would lend itself from the last two decades and has since taken the place along the black renaissance as the leading african-american and journalists in the world today. growing in part out of the writers' club and organization that he has mentored hundreds of young writers. and has also served as a visual account of the poet's and writers with the vast array of the personal archive of photography as well as photographs by many
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other notable figures. please join me to honor eugene redmond with a lifetime achievement award to six. [cheers and applause] >> i said to a friend of mine here at berkeley i looked up and said wire they standing? because the book had just come out he said that is
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because of the. [laughter] for my parents and their parents did your parents and their parents of the laidback to columbus, in gratitude i can never on the view to not exist to be disembodied to be diss & to be felt like an apparition
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with limbo and that is why i can never unlove you. i can never dismantle my passion and why i can never decompose on desire. to be a guard and and -- guardian by outside scriptures and then noon sun like a drunken lizard. stood trip on the echo of love. on the back of a nomadic priests come on the
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coattails of sanity. that is why i can never unlove you and not notice the flames that you forge and never un lose my eyes. i can never unlove you but i can't really of view before another moon. i can never un need you but i could have the nights caresses. i can never not what you. although i can three kriet the ancient notion. i can never unlove you. unlove you never. unlove hugh before columbus
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charles blackwell, . [laughter] this mail read, norman brown and families speaking icahn never unlove you. in addition to borrow a phrase to collaborate with the ancestors also collaborate literally this afternoon with some of the people that have intersected my life and who sciatic of intersected since this is a lifetime achievement award award, a letter to the editor which coincidentally
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and maybe ironically the only african-american newspaper in the country edited by european america who was also a protege of mine. [laughter] i sent some strains and imploded and as the letter to the editor. feedback this was an e-mail. day other day, the third world drew one of the founders of the columbus foundation/american book award phoned to tell me why i was given the lifetime achievement.
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congratulations on your latest in successes and achievement. 700 page special issue drum voices review and training three generations of writers. i had not see that that quite that way but now they think of it as of december 1st, this will be my 75th year with the braff of the forest of poetry. 75th year of struggling struggles through arts in the art and freezing correct and good grief and hal. [laughter]
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[inaudible] leon thomas, r&d, steering the writers and to my other treasurer. none of that could have dropped holy rollers and seventh day adventist.
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road tracks and smokestacks. slaughtering houses and killing floors. the mother who called my father mr. redmond except when she was upset. then it was john edmund. [laughter] to the big brothers among eight siblings and a grandmother who thought i would live to be 212 to the faith of the white folks.
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how do we get into this? we know that every new discipline comes on the heels and compelled by a movement. i say i put 50 and $0.75 on my grandmother's wisdom. that is how we move into the new curriculum. in 1969 to us before i went to overland college i got a
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note from a black student brother eugene this is the most crucial please the black sacramento community has issued. because of your presence is vital to sacramento to a sacramento college, the party, the council and every element of the black community you join us as one more ingredient in the capital city that could be the most vital ingredient for forces throughout the state we have the most autonomous ethnic studies
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program in the state. on paper. [laughter] ll's properly staffed and directors implemented we have veto power to hire and fire the staff as you were during the visit but this is worthless without experienced advice. you'd be especially helpful as the advisor but really this is ben peripheral. the community had been part and sure. but the most important thing brother eugene, is for you to do your own thing even
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though we experience only a smaller portion we grasp how vitally important in this. we recognize your ability to connect up summit various levels. two-seat your works and they have a note to three being poems like the one best started off with at the sisters dig gun the exultation they receive with your beautiful black artistry. [laughter] talk about 20-something young scholars warriors but
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two years before i got the telegram i met demand spelled like do negative. 10 months later he was shot to death. i assume the lifetime award for more than 40 years of was the literary executor. working with tony morrison with the late james baldwin and of course, so many others. in a nutshell henry took his
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southern upbringing as a literary mess. doing so, as he did with the dead and the living the material, of the lofty religion, is something that was called by others but his rebirth you will eric couple more of these. i tried within 49 words to
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correct him by way of the naming process. awake as the quake. dreaming henry brought to hang. naming his poems, his friends, is setting list. his vessels, his heroes and his brothers. coming forward from that time that i met him after
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taking the job of fresh man walks into my english composition class they are from stockton. one of the most brilliant students and avery brooks is among the students. [applause] >> guy and still trying to mask his eloquence although i fear it will be a lifetime
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journey but i am in%. i will take about three minutes. it is a snapshot and testimony to the life of the red men who live believe is a gift to all of us, a teacher who embodies the nature of the creator that he can see. and ginsberg like a good father and nurtures the good seed to fruition. with three short pieces the first is entitled america. if and egoism present on the back of a coal waned
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and is said to this guy that kuwait will flutter. [laughter] but the eagle will never fly. henry dumas. [applause] >> abc's how that seed given by redmen inspires and falling waters for henry dumas.
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my footsteps are flame and my voice is falling waters and rolling fender. at this moment of life in times i have breed leather heights i have been always. [laughter] i have ruutu in the trees and found myself a web and launch myself as an airborne seed. no time has been or will be without me. i am cousin to stone and a brother to bone. look for me.
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[laughter] my holy metals. >> back to dumas this poem is entitled loathsome. >> beloved. i have two-door the years. the wind must have heard your voice because it echoes and sing this like you. it is laden with your cent. the trees on their you with
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gold and blushed as you pass by brian know why the north country is frozen. i know why the desert burns and has went too long without you. the zero shin takes up the beach. and then follow your feet. you have taught her well. you have taught her well. how to be beautiful. death them life is the power
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of the tongue. and a able to create my brother. [applause] . .
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